FAQ: What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

A fellow caregiver asked...

What is mild cognitive impairment?

Expert Answer

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is the author of a popular blog and podcast at BetterHealthWhileAging.net. She is also a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which a person shows objective evidence of decreased mental abilities, but the problems are not severe enough to interfere with everyday functioning.

Someone with mild cognitive impairment may have trouble remembering events, finding the right word, concentrating while reading, or using reasoning or judgment skills. But these difficulties don't interfere with holding a job or living alone.

Many, but not all, people with mild cognitive impairment eventually progress to clinical Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. Others may get better.

Because mild cognitive impairment can be caused by treatable problems, such as depression, medication side effects, and hormonal issues, it's important to seek medical attention if you're concerned about mild cognitive impairment.

Learn more about mild cognitive impairment.